How to Use Google Street View

Moving around through Google street views can feel a little awkward at first because they function a little differently from other 360 panoramic views. Take a few minutes to learn the controls and you can literally explore the world.

The Dial

Rather than clicking on a random point in the view and dragging, it is better to rotate by turning the small dial in the upper left-hand corner. You can also use the arrows in that dial to change your viewing angle. The + and – allow you to zoom. If you zoom, you must zoom back out to continue moving forward.

Paths and Arrows

To advance forward, backward, left or right, click on the white arrows in the street. When you move the cursor around the screen, you will notice white paths appearing which show you the options you have for moving through the view. Sticking to these paths makes moving in Google street view easier. Paths sometimes jump through walls or buildings.


When you move your cursor ahead of you along the path, it sometimes changes into a circle. If you click when the circle forms, you can jump to that viewing location (it moves faster and further than when you click on an arrow).


When you position the cursor over a building or site, the cursor will change into a rectangle. If you click when the rectangle forms, you will be repositioned to best view what you just clicked on. Repositioning can be very disorienting when you first try it because it can angle the view up or down which makes it hard to find the arrows in the street. To find the arrows in the street, use the arrows in the upper left-hand dial to reposition your viewing angle and spin around a few times. The white path should reappear in the street to help you find your way.


Sometimes the cursor will change into a rectangle with a magnifying glass, this allows you to reposition and zoom into the view. Remember, you can also use the + and – under the upper left-hand dial to zoom. Again, repositioning and zooming is quite disorienting. You must use the little minus symbol under the dial to return to the normal view before you can continue moving. (Avoid zooming until you get a feeling for the other controls.)

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